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Alternative namesمرقاز
Region or stateMaghreb
Associated cuisine
Invented12th century
Main ingredientsLamb or beef
Ingredients generally usedCumin and chili pepper or harissa

Merguez (/mɛərˈɡɛz/) is a red, spicy lamb- or beef-based fresh sausage in Maghrebi cuisine.[1][2] In France, merguez became popular in the 1960s and 1970s, as Algerian immigrants and the pieds-noirs of Algeria settled in the country and opened small shops and restaurants that served traditional dishes like merguez.[3][4][5][6] The popularity of merguez in France was also fueled by the rise of fast food chains like Quick and McDonald's, which began to offer merguez sandwiches and burgers to cater to their North African clientele.[7]

Merguez is a sausage made with uncooked lamb, beef, or a mixture stuffed into a lamb-intestine casing. It is heavily spiced with cumin and chili pepper or harissa, which give it its characteristic piquancy and red color, as well as other spices such as sumac, fennel and garlic.

Merguez is usually eaten grilled. While not in traditional Maghrebi couscous, it is often used in couscous royal in France. It is also eaten in sandwiches and with french fries and dijon mustard.


There are several spellings in Arabic (مِركس mirkas, pl. مراكس marākis; مِركاس mirkās, مَركس markas and مِرقاز mirqāz). The hesitation between k and q probably reflects the pronunciation /ɡ/, for which there is no standard Arabic spelling; further confusing matters is that in some maghrebi dialects, Arabic qāf is sometimes pronounced as /ɡ/, as an allophone of /q/.[8] It is first attested in the 12th century, as mirkās or merkās.[9]

The Arabic terminology for the food is also the origin of the Spanish names of the foodstuffs morcon and morcilla.[10]

See also


  1. ^ الدبابي الميساوي, سهام (2017). مائدة إفريقية-دراسة في الوان الطعام. Majmaʻ al-Tūnisī lil-ʻUlūm wa-al-Ādāb wa-al-Funūn, Bayt al-Ḥikmah. Archived from the original on 1 March 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Merguez, the Algerian sausages | Le Kesh". Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  3. ^ Hubbell, Amy L. (2013-07-17). "(In)Edible Algeria: Transmitting Pied-Noir Nostalgia Through Food". PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies. 10 (2). doi:10.5130/portal.v10i2.2991. ISSN 1449-2490.
  4. ^ Doris Bensimon-Donath (3 December 2018). L'intégration des juifs nord-africains en France. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. ISBN 9783111557724.
  5. ^ Amy Hubbell (2013). "(In)Edible Algeria: Transmitting Pied-Noir Nostalgia Through Food".
  6. ^ Clabrough, Chantal (2005). A Pied Noir cookbook : French Sephardic cuisine from Algeria. New York: Hippocrene Books. ISBN 0-7818-1082-5. OCLC 59098792.
  7. ^ Andrew F. Smith (2007). "Merguez". The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink.
  8. ^ Pellat, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition
  9. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, 2001, s.v. merguez
  10. ^ Trésor de la langue française, s.v. merguez